Let’s do lunch: beef & beer-pickled onions

Categories: Product stories

Adventurous British fare from the new menu at The Globe Tavern

“What’s this?” shouts a trader across the Globe’s gleaming new dining room, stabbing his finger at the freshly printed menu: “Vacherin, yeast, cauliflower, prune it says, under starters.” Luke Hawkins, the pub’s cheerful head chef starts to explain. “It’s a vacherin cheese, melted, with cauliflower,” he begins, but he is quickly cut short.

“Posh cauliflower cheese, basically,” is his customers’ blunt precis. “Exactly,” Luke grins. Ten minutes and an empty plate later, the market-hardened voice rings out once more. “That was bloody brilliant cauliflower cheese.”

And he’s right. Newly opened, with a head chef borne of the Berkeley and Claridge’s as well as eminent gastropubs, the Globe Tavern’s raison d’etre is indeed brilliant seasonal fare. ‘Posh’ is a misnomer; adventurous is probably a more accurate description of the menu which boasts classic British dishes in less classic clothes.

Rich, hearty medley
Look once and you’ll see beef, beer pickled onions, brussels sprouts and sourdough bread sauce. Look twice (or ask Luke for an explanation) and you’ll discover this rich, hearty medley of organic, ethically reared shin of beef, served with a London red ale and beef sauce, beer-pickled onions and a sourdough bread sauce, which boils down to beef and ale stew, cleverly disguised.

“For me this dish takes the concept of beef and ale stew and does it in a modern way—even down to the sourdough puree, which is like a bread sauce but with yeast in it. It lends it that beery, fermented taste, and the beer pickled onions are our own.”

The onions hail from Turnips; the pickling is done on site, together with the various ferments, brines and chutneys lined up above the kitchen. The sourdough is from Bread Ahead. “We take the offcuts of the bread baskets left from the day before for the sauce.”

The ethos of the Market
Though Luke is passionate about supporting the Market, it is, he says, as much about the ethos of the Market as it is the ingredients. “We source from Bread Ahead, Turnips and Cannon and Cannon, but I also have my own suppliers who I have worked with for many years,” he explains.

“They are not solely the Market, but they are solely London and they are all small and independent. Seasonality, quality, provenance—that’s what the Market says to me, and I love the fact that I can stand here and tell you about the family behind our fish suppliers, or Phil at Rippon Cheese who I’ve known many years. That’s provenance.” It’s as true for his produce as for the ‘classic’ dishes he (re)creates.

The Arnold Bennet is a case in point: an incredibly rich and creamy omelette of smoked haddock topped with béchamel AND hollandaise AND cheese. Luke tells us the story behind it: an author, living at the Savoy hotel for the three months in which he wrote his book, had this dish created for him. Having dined on it every day he was there, it was subsequently named after him.

“How he didn’t die from eating it every day I don’t know,” Luke laughs. “It’s not the healthiest dish. But it is flavour-packed, particularly as we use a good washed rind hard cheese from our cheese board to top it with, and the haddock comes from a wonderful sustainable family business in Scotland.”

It tastes as it sounds: English, decadent, seemingly straightforward yet maddeningly difficult to master. Its blend of gritty, salty cheese, a buttery melding of hollandaise and egg, and feisty haddock stays with you long after the last mouthful has disappeared.

It’s an excellent ‘light’ lunch—or, if you’re feeling hungry, a starter to be followed by one of Luke’s intriguing main courses. This is British grub not as you expect it, but better.